Blueberry Boy Bait Updated

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On my kitchen table is a little 16-inch television that I use for watching old DVD’s of movies and food shows while I am cooking.  The other day I was watching the “America’s Test Kitchen” series from about ten years ago.  I came across the segment about a recipe from the 5th Pillsbury Grand National Contest (later changed to Pillsbury Bake-Off).

This Bake-Off contest from 1954 was held at the iconic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.  Teenager Renny Powell from Chicago was competing in the Junior Division with a recipe having the unusual name of “Blueberry Boy Bait.” Pillsbury called it “A quick cake-like dessert filled with blueberries.”  Renny Powell said it was something she liked to make for her friends when they gathered for a snack, and by the title, hoping it would be so good to get a boyfriend!

Christopher Kimball and his test kitchen staff decided to make an updated version of the original recipe.  Since I had a bag of fresh wild blueberries that my husband Bill brought me from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I decided to try the test kitchen version.

The cake was easy to make and really good.  Bill had it for breakfast with his coffee, but also liked it as a dessert with vanilla ice cream.

Renny Powell won the 2nd Prize of $2,000 for her efforts.  I am guessing that was a lot of money for a teenager in 1954!  I wonder what she did with her prize money? And did she get a boyfriend?  Well, as it has been said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”

Blueberry Boy Bait Updated
An updated version of the prize-winning recipe from teenager Renny Powell in 1954. at the 5th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • Topping:
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F, Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. , In a medium bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour, baking powder, and set aside.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. , Stir in milk and flour mixture alternately until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  5. Toss ½ cup of the blueberries with the teaspoon of flour, then carefully fold into batter. Scrape mixture in prepared pan.
  6. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup blueberries.
  7. Mix together the topping of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over blueberries.
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.


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6 Responses to Blueberry Boy Bait Updated

  1. September 14, 2020 at 5:38 am #

    Live this! Can’t wait to try.

    • September 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm #

      Hope you like it, Lyndsey! The cooks at America’s Test Kitchen certainly did. It was a fun segment to watch.

  2. September 14, 2020 at 8:17 am #

    Sounds good. Updated blueberry muffin?

    • September 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm #

      EJ, I don’t think this would be a good muffin candidate because it has a more delicate texture and might fall apart more, but then again, I haven’t tried it as a muffin! That’s just my guess.

  3. September 14, 2020 at 10:00 am #

    Cute story. I love how sharing cooking & recipes with others always has a story. Creating happy memories, besides the happy stomach.

    • September 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm #

      I love that a teenager came up with this recipe. I bet she has some great memories.

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